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Tech Field Day 11 Preview: CloudPhysics

June 9th, 2016

Tech Field Day 11 is happening in Boston, from 22-24 June and I’m super happy to be invited as a delegate.

I’ve been previewing the companies attending, have a look at my introductory post: I’m heading to Tech Field Day 11 and DockerCon!


CloudPhysics is somewhat of a darling of the visualisation ecosystem, founded by a number of ex-VMware brains. CloudPhysics has previously presented at Virtualisation Field Day 3, two years ago

It has a SaaS product for analysing on-premises VMware installations. This is hugely valuable, vSphere is powerful, can have fantastic performance but by nature of it touching compute, storage and networking can be difficult to see where performance or configuration issues are.
CloudPhysics sucks up all your vSphere config and performance data via a small virtual appliance and sends the data to the cloud and crunches it to give you visibility across your entire infrastructure so you can view reports, see config changes and cluster performance. You can also look ahead and use the product’s trending and predictive analysis. You can get going in 15 minutes and spend no money with the Free edition or upgrade to the Premium edition for more features which is a yearly subscription.

The user interface is all based on cards, each one is a mash of systems data and analytics. In the free Edition you can see things like inventory information, VM reservations and limits, snapshots and host resource commitment. If you start paying you get many more cards including datastore space, cluster health, unused VMs, orphaned VM files, I/O contention, a helpful knowledge based advisor to match KB articles to your infrastructure and also some cost comparison calculators for vCloud Air and Azure. As its a SaaS platform the cards are continually being updated and new ones appear fairly regularly. You can also create your own.

Being able to spot bad configurations and unauthorised changes is so useful and if you can correlate a performance change to a configuration change that can save hours of needless investigation.

Its strange to say but you really shouldn’t need any of this, I wish vCenter was able to give you all this information in an easily digestible format but it doesn’t so CloudPhysics is great. Who knows if VMware ever get to vCenter as a Service whether analytics like this is part of the future roadmap?

CloudPhysics has always had the VM analytics but has recently been fleshing out its host and cluster exploration capabilities so can better see the relation between VMs for noise neighbours for example, it will be interesting to hear what’s new.

Partner Edition

Another interesting expansion to the product is the Partner Edition which allows channel and vendor partners to link up with CloudPhysics to do data centre assessments for their customers. This will allow much easier sharing of data, I presume the security and customer consent bits are all sorted out.

Being able to share CloudPhysics data with a storage or server vendor for example could be very useful as manually gathering firmware/nic settings is very time consuming. How about logging a call with a storage vendor and them being able to analyse your environment via CloudPhysics and be able to rectify much quicker as the historical data and all config settings are already there. I’m sure vendors are happy to connect up with CloudPhysics as they can get more insight into their customers to troubleshoot better and likely sell them more kit.

I can see this being expanded for many use cases. Want to spec what a new storage array needs, want to move to hyper-converged and need to know if your workload is suitable, CloudPhysics can help by allowing vendors to define what data they need to be able to answer these questions for you and you can opt in to share your average / burst IO requirements so they can spec a solution. I wonder whether vendors in the future will be able to offer their solutions via a what-if scenario, Here is my IO / latency, how would the performance graph be different if I was using array x rather than array y? Will vendors be able to upload their product’s array/switch/backup etc. config/performance information into CloudPhysics to be able to correlate it with the current vSphere stuff. Many interesting future options.

I would also think this can be used by Service Providers to allow them to better serve their tenants/customers. They likely have existing modelling tools but having a shared tool with their customers would certainly be useful. Customers can keep their vSphere service/cloud providers in check and SPs can better help their customers size their workloads with a common view.

I do wonder however how vSphere centric this solution is. VMware is no longer the only solution, is CloudPhysics thinking of expanding to Hyper-V and KVM or even being able to use its smarts for VMs deployed in various clouds? Container performance and config is going to be a new analytics option, any plans CloudPhysics?

Gestalt IT is paying for travel, accommodation and things to eat to attend Tech Field Day but isn’t paying a penny for me to write anything good or bad about anyone.

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  1. June 9th, 2016 at 16:00 | #1

    I see more and more products using the “suck the data into the cloud” approach and it seems simple and straightforward. But, what about companies and customers who have to abide by security requirements that do NOT allow any data at all to reside in the cloud? I mean, this sounds slick/interesting/cool, but I support a very very large enterprise customer that would simply not allow this product. All of their data has to reside inside their own networks. Does this product have an option for companies with this type of data security requirement?

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